Norwegian society is markedly secular, and religious leaders generally have no power beyond their own religious community. Public debate is nevertheless distinguished by a commonly held belief that religious leaders are powerful individuals. This is particularly the case with imams, who are accused of having too much power and of using this power to inhibit the integration of Muslims into Norwegian society. This article nuances this image by presenting imams’ activities and work; the conditions for this; and their self-understanding of their position of power in Norway. The imam’s role is illuminated through four fields: 1) the imam’s formal position, activities and areas of responsibility, 2) the imam’s authority regarding religious interpretation and advice or council, 3) the imam as he is presented in the Norwegian press, 4) the imam’s position as tempered by new Muslim authorities.1
DassettoF.HelanderE.“Leaders and Leaderships in Islam and in Transplanted Islam in Europe”Religion and Social Transitions199995HelsinkiUniversity of HelsinkiPublications of the Department of Practical Theology
DøvingC.LindholmT.ShamiS.Religiøst engasjement og sosial integrering: fins der viktige sammenhenger? En pilotstudie av muslimer i Oslo-området med familiebakgrunn fra Pakistan2010University of OsloRapport fra “Religiøsitet og integrering” (a pilot project under the research network PluRel, Religion in pluralistic society
Stokke NilsenK.Imamens rolle i norske aviser. Endringer etter etablering av moskeer i Oslo med vekt på årene 1988, 1998 og 20082010Masteroppgave i religion og Samfunn. Det teologiske fakultet, Universitetet i Oslo
Birt, J., “Good Imam, Bad Imam: Civic religion and national integration in Britain post 9/11,” in Muslim World, 96: 4 (2006), pp. 687-705. In England public policy on imams developed also increased after the London bombing in 2005.
Hervik, P.,E. Eide, and R. Kunelius, “A Long and Messy Event” in Eide, E., R. Kunelius and A. Phillips, (eds.), Transnational Media Events. The Mohammed Cartoons and the Imagined Clash of Civilizations. (Gothenburg: Nordicom, 2008), pp. 29-38.
Morey, P., and A. Yaqin, Framing Muslims: Stereotyping and Representation after 9/11, (Harvard: Harvard University Press, 2011), pp. 2-4.
Bowen, J., Can Islam be French? Pluralism and pragmatism in a secular state, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010), Larsen, L, Islamsk rettstenkning i møte med dagliglivets utfordringer: fatwaer som løsningsforslag for muslimske kvinner i Vest-Europa, phd., levert ved Det humanistiske fakultet, Universitetet i Oslo (2011).